Assessment

The mission of the Marlboro County School District is to educate and enable all students to achieve their highest potential. The District administers summative and formative assessments to measure student growth and achievement. The State Report Card summarizes student achievement.

Testing Schedule for 2016-2017
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State-mandated, summative assessments include the following:

Phynological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)
PALS-PreK is a scientifically-based phonological awareness and literacy screening that measures preschoolers' developing knowledge of important literacy fundamentals and offers guidance to teachers for tailoring instruction to children's specific needs. The assessment reflects skills that are predictive of future reading success and measures name writing ability, upper-case and lower-case alphabet recognition, letter sound and beginning sound production, print and word awareness, rhyme awareness and nursery rhyme awareness. The assessment scores indicate children's strengths and those areas that may require more direct attention. The assessment is designed to be administered to four-year-olds in the fall of PreK in order to guide instruction during the year. A second administration in the spring of PreK serves to evaluate progress.

Developmental Reading Assessment, 2nd Edition Plus (DRA2+)
The Developmental Reading Assessment®, Second Edition, PLUS (DRA2+) is a formative reading assessment in which teachers are able to systemically observe, record, and evaluate changes in student reading performance.

DRA2+ is a proven, criterion-referenced assessment and includes recommendations for scaffolded support to increase student reading proficiency. DRA2+ has undergone rigorous field-testing and is supported by sound validity and reliability analyses.  A student's DRA2 level (independent reading level) reflects the student's oral reading fluency (95% accuracy) and comprehension (90%) at independent performance levels.

Accessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLS)
ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) is a secure large-scale English language proficiency assessment given to Kindergarten through 12th graders who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). It is given annually in WIDA Consortium member states to monitor students' progress in acquiring academic English. ACCESS for ELLs is only available to Consortium member states.

Within each grade-level cluster (except Kindergarten), ACCESS for ELLs consists of three forms: Tier A (beginning), Tier B (intermediate), and Tier C (advanced). This keeps the test shorter and more appropriately targets each students' range of language skills.

ACCESS for ELLs: Exceeds the requirements stipulated by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 and is used to measure and report growth in a manner consistent with the need for fulfilling these requirements.  Generates results that serve as one criterion to aid in determining when ELLs have attained the language proficiency needed to participate meaningfully in content area classrooms without program support and on state academic content tests without accommodations.  Provides districts with information that will aid in evaluating the effectiveness of their ESL/bilingual programs, Identifies the ELP levels of students with respect to the WIDA ELD Standards' levels 1-6.  Provides information that can be used to enhance instruction and learning for ELLs.

Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and Iowa Assessment (IA)
Districts are required to provide services for all gifted and talented students at the elementary and secondary levels. Students are identified for this program by demonstrating high performance ability or potential in academic and/or artistic areas. In accordance with State Board of Education regulation 43-220, the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) provides an aptitude and an achievement assessment for this purpose. Although the primary purpose of these assessments is to identify students for the Gifted and Talented programs, the student results can be useful to teachers as they examine their instructional practices and can help them identify teaching strategies for all students.  This assessment is given the fall of the year to all second graders.

South Carolina College and Career READY Assessments (SC READY) 
The South Carolina College- and Career- READY Assessments (SC READY) are statewide assessments in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics that will meet all of the requirements of Acts 155 and 200, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), and the Assessments Peer Review guidance. 

All students in grades 3–8 are required to take the SC READY except those who qualify for the South Carolina National Center and State Collaborative (SC-NCSC). 

The SC READY test items are aligned to the standards for each subject and grade level. Standards outline what schools are expected to teach and what students are expected to learn. Academic standards also include indicators that are statements of the specific cognitive processes and the content knowledge and skills that students must demonstrate to meet the grade-level standards. SC READY test items are written to assess the content knowledge and skills described in the academic standards and indicators.

South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (SCPASS)
The South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (SCPASS) is a statewide assessment administered to students in grades four through eight. All students in these grade levels are required to take the SCPASS except those who qualify for the South Carolina Alternate Assessment (SC-Alt). SCPASS includes tests in two subjects: science and social studies.

SCPASS test items measure student performance on the South Carolina Academic Standards. The SCPASS test items are aligned to the standards for each subject and grade level. Standards outline what schools are expected to teach and what students are expected to learn. Academic standards also include indicators that are statements of the specific cognitive processes and the content knowledge and skills that students must demonstrate to meet the grade-level standards. SCPASS test items are written to assess the content knowledge and skills described in the academic standards and indicators.

For each SCPASS test, results are reported in terms of total scale scores, performance levels, and performance by standard. Three performance levels (Exemplary, Met, Not Met) were established to reflect the continuum of knowledge and skills exhibited by students. The performance levels are useful for assessing a school’s overall performance and are appropriate for the grade levels within the school.

End of Course Examination Program (EOCEP)
The Education Accountability Act of 1998 requires the development of end-of-course examinations in gateway or benchmark courses. The program is called End-of-Course-Examination Program (EOCEP).

The examinations, which count 20 percent of the students' final grade in each gateway or benchmark course for advanced eighth graders currently includes Algebra 1/Mathematics for the Technologies 2 and English 1.

Each examination will be administered to the students at the end of the semester in which they are scheduled to complete the course.

ACT WorkKeys
The South Carolina Code of Laws, section 59-18-325, requires that all eleventh grade students take ACT WorkKeys®.  With the exception of students eligible for alternate assessments, all eleventh grade students must take ACT WorkKeys®. Eleventh grade students are determined using the 9GR PowerSchool definition—i.e., students in the third year after their initial enrollment in the ninth grade must take ACT WorkKeys. 

ACT WorkKeys is a job skills assessment. The statewide testing program includes three timed tests taking 45 minutes each: Reading for Information (33 items), Applied Mathematics (33 items), and Locating Information (38 items). 

Scores are determined by the total number of items answered correctly. There is no penalty for guessing. There are two types of scores available: Scale Scores and Level Scores. Scale Scores are generally used by educational institutions to identify changes in scores from one test administration to another. Level Scores identify skill levels. Each level includes a broad range of skills. Level scores can be used for selection, promotion, or other individual high-stakes purposes. Differences in scale scores within levels are not to be used for hiring or promotion decisions.

Student-level scores include scale scores and a level score for each of the three tests (Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information). Students who successfully complete these three tests may be eligible for ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). Based on performance, students may earn a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum certificate, as described below.
Bronze - scores at least a level 3 in each of the three core areas
Silver - scores at least a level 4 in each of the three core areas
Gold - scores at least a level 5 in each of the three core areas
Platinum - scores at least a level 6 in each of the three core areas 

The ACT®
In the spring of 2016 all public high schools and, where necessary, career centers, are required to offer The ACT®to each student in the eleventh grade on the dates provided below. SC-NCSC may be used as the alternate to The ACT for students who are alternate-assessment eligible.

For the purposes of the testing program, grade 11 students are defined as students in the third year of high school after their initial enrollment in the ninth grade. This determination is made based on the 9GR field in PowerSchool.

The ACT testing program includes multiple-choice tests in English, Reading, Mathematics, and Science, as well as a Writing test, which is an essay. The ACT test scores provide information about progress toward college readiness and are widely used by colleges in making decisions about admission. Students who take The ACT according to ACT, Inc. requirements will be able to share their ACT scores with up to four colleges or universities for free. Parents should contact their School Counselor if they have questions.

South Carolina Alternate Assessment (SC-Alt)
An Alternate Assessment on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS) is an assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed against alternate achievement standards as they are unable to participate in the general assessment program even with appropriate accommodations. As many students who participate in alternate assessment are non-graded, these students are assessed on grade-level content based on their age commensurate with the ages of students who are typically in the tested grades. 

The SC-Alt in science/biology and social studies is administered to students who meet the participation guidelines for alternate assessment and who are ages 9–13 and 16 as of September 1 of the assessment year. (These are the ages of students who are typically in grades 4–8 and 11). The assessment consists of a series of performance tasks that are linked to the grade level academic standards although at a less complex level.

National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC)
The National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) is a project funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, and is led by five centers and 26 states to construct an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS), aligned to the Common Core State Standards, for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in Grades 3-8 and 11. The goal of the NCSC project is to ensure that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for post-secondary options. 

Formative assessments include the following:

MAP for Primary Grades (MPG)
MPG assessments meet the unique needs of early learners by utilizing advanced technology to display interactive visuals and audio for beginning readers. For example, the computer automatically plays audio instructions to the student, eliminating the challenges of early learners who cannot read. Students are able to use a mouse to perform an action.

Based on over 30 years of solid research, this computer adaptive interim assessments do more than create personalized test experiences for every student: they provide the most stable scale and data in the assessment industry. Educators around the globe trust MPG and their interactive MAP Learning Continuum to deliver instructional insights that help them accelerate student learning.  Students take the online test in the fall, winter (optional by school) and spring.  Teachers utilize the results to personalize instruction in order to maximize every student’s academic growth.  Principals track the achievement and growth of individual students and classrooms and help evaluate the success of the programs.  Educational leaders understand the progress of every student, classroom and school in the district.

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
MAP is a norm-referenced measure of student growth over time. MAP assessments, joined with other data points, provide detailed, actionable data about where each child is on his or her unique learning path. MAP assessments differ from other data sources used by the MCSD to inform instruction by being nationally normed, by tracking student progress throughout a year and across school years, and by being linked to software tools which can assist teachers and administrators in planning instruction.

MAP tests are based on a continuum of skills in Mathematics and Reading from low skill levels to high skill levels. MAP assessments help teachers identify the instructional level of the student and also provide context for determining where each student is performing in relation to local or state standards and national norms. MAP reports allow teachers to better target instruction based on students’ strengths and needs.  Students take the online test in the fall, winter (optional by school) and spring.

Case 21 Benchmark Assessments

In order to meet the needs of every student and ensure mastery of standards, teachers want and need timely feedback on skills mastered by every student. TE21’s CASE benchmark assessments are designed to gauge the academic progress of students and to provide timely feedback that can be used by teachers to guide instruction. These benchmark assessments can be administered as nine-week assessments, mid-year assessments, or final comprehensive tests prior to administration of the state test, and valuable data is available within a 48-hour time frame. The benchmark assessments, which are aligned to College- and Career-Ready Standards/Common Core State Standards (CCSS), provide valuable data regarding all students’ knowledge of the standards.  Students are tested in English Language Arts and Mathematics.  Benchmark questions are formatted and designed to mirror best practices for assessing standards and that CASE reports provide diagnostic data to target instruction.

CASE Assessments' reports provide class, school, and district data on overall projected achievement level and scale score, suggested grades for students (100 pt. scale), thinking skills, curriculum units or standards, percent correct, and reading standards and genres.

Contact Information:
District Testing Coordinator
Casey Odonnell-Chavis
Phone: 843.544.5895
Fax:  843.479.9843
cochavis@marlboro.k12.sc.us